It’s All About Balance

An expert in supporting frazzled, at-the-end-of-their tether parents, Mindful Mum, AKA Jodie Warburton, is a qualified Midwife and works as a sleep consultant providing knowledge and guidance to help parents overcome common sleep challenges in children.

Her work takes her all over Sydney, working with different families.  During her time in the field she has seen many parents, mums in particular, taking on way too much and striving to be perfect at everything only to end-up drained and irritable.

Jodie is a big believer in helping Mums to slow down and enjoy being in the moment, she has put together the following advice to demonstrate how parents can establish healthy routines, that are ‘good enough’ without putting unnecessary pressure on themselves.

It’s all about balance. You don’t have to be perfect all the time; most of the time is good enough.

Most mums seem to have an endless list of all the things they ‘should’ be doing, from preparing nutritious family meals, being physically active, limiting electronics, the list goes on. From a wellbeing point of view setting unrealistic standards is just going to make you, and everyone around you feel stressed and anxious. Once you relax and permit yourself to have a break from time to time, you’ll soon realise that maintaining a healthy routine most of the time is good enough.

Think of it as being ‘good’ 80% of the time.

Allow yourself the odd slip from a healthy routine, a takeaway now and again, a piece of birthday cake, a dinner in front of the TV. If these things represent the exception, not the rule, then you are actually succeeding in balancing your healthy goals with the ups and downs of real life and all that it demands.

The ‘good enough’ approach creating strong routines for children.

The Raising Children Network advocates establishing routines in order to help children feel safe and secure and to feel like they have a clear role in the family. Routines are helpful in encouraging healthy habits, like teeth cleaning and going to bed at an appropriate time. If it becomes routine, they are less likely to question it or put up a fight, because that’s just the way things are.
Additionally, routines can help children feel in control of their surroundings, as they know what to expect and can predict and prepare emotionally for difficult or annoying tasks.

This all sets them up well for adulthood, since they will not struggle as hard with willpower to keep healthy habits as they get older.

Setting routines, without the pressure.

So, routines are helpful for all the family, but they shouldn’t be stressful to maintain. Here are my tips to creating a balanced routine that will make everyone in your family breathe easier.
Chose a routine that works best for you, take into consideration what your personal rhythms are as well as when your child is happiest, most tired, or most cranky. Then consider how to incorporate each of the following elements into a routine that works for you all.

Sleep – when is the best time for bedtime and wake-up time, when is that able to be shifted? How can naps be incorporated into the day so that the child will not resist taking them but will also sleep at night?

Feeding – How can meals be spaced so they fit into your family schedule while keeping your child satiated and providing their nutrition requirements?

Bath time and hygiene – What schedule works best for your child to remain healthy and clean? Some of these elements will be sporadic and not dependent on your routine, but if you notice that they are necessary at particular times, how can you plan around that?

Alone play and play with you – How can you cue your child to know when you need to work on things around your home and when you are available to play with them? Making special play time together can help your child wait for that time with anticipation rather than asking for play time together all the time.

Time out of the house – When you need to go run errands, take your child to a babysitter, or plan a fun day together, how will your child know what the new elements of the routine will be? Can you prepare them ahead of time?

Applying a ‘most of the time’ approach to routines makes life easier by establishing stability, but it gives you the flexibility to create some new routines that accommodates any changes in your life, such a work schedules, being on holiday or the arrival of a new sibling.

And finally some words of wisdom from Petit Journey’s Blog: ”Remember to stay sensitive and adaptable to the needs of each child. When a schedule becomes too regimented or strict, the benefits will be reduced, and children may feel controlled by it rather than freed by it (which is the ultimate goal).”

For further information and advice on successfully setting routines for your child you can contact Mindful Mum here.


About Jodie Warburton

Jodie Warburton, is a qualified Midwife and works as a sleep consultant providing knowledge and guidance to help parents overcome common sleep challenges in children.

Her work takes her all over Sydney, working with different families.  During her time in the field she has seen many parents, mums in particular, taking on way too much and striving to be perfect at everything only to end-up drained and irritable.

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